My grandfather had a go-to saying that really stuck with people, including me. When events in life didn't quite go your way, he would reassuringly tell you that, "you're building character". Many times I'd experience a set back and run to that little dity, not thinking much about what it really meant at all. I'd jokingly repeat the phrase. Silly girl...
When I recently took some time to ponder the words, I finally heard him. I heard what he had been trying to say all along! The events in life that make you struggle and feel like a failure are the very same ones that teach you perseverance and courage. In bouncing back from a trial, you grow your self-esteem and worth, your skin thickens for future troubled times and your ego is kept in check, as to not become over-inflated. YOU ARE BUILDING CHARACTER. How reassuring is that? It's amazing. I think if I had joked less and listened more, those words could have gotten me through some toughies along the way. I think if I had joked less and listened more to everything people said...well, anyway. I joke. That's what I do, and it's fine.
So, the funny thing about character is that just when you think that you couldn't build any more...you do. You're coasting along, all fine and dandy, and SMACK! More character.
I recently built some character in the kitchen. As I've mentioned before, we are transitioning our family to a gluten-free lifestyle. That, however, should not in any way mean that brownies are out of the picture. Period. It should not. I found a recipe for Black Bean Brownies, tucked it away and waited for a fun opportunity to bake. I noticed a Facebook event on a friends wall entitled "Brownies for Breakfast". It was an event set up by a grieving mother, that recently lost her school-aged daughter in a car accident. The day of the crash, she had allowed her to eat brownies for breakfast. This event was in remembrance of a baby gone too soon, and intended to remind us to let loose and live each day to the fullest. What a amazing event set up by such a strong mother.
Okay, we were way in! I busted out that recipe and the black beans and the...wait, we were out of honey. It was fine, I decided just to sub in maple syrup. Okay, I got out the coconut oil, the cocoa powder, and the...oops! I was out of chocolate chips. It was alright, because I had a darker-than-dark bar of chocolate that I shaved up and threw in there. I was sure that these changes would be undetectable, and that my toddler would be thrilled at the sight of his breakfast. He gagged and spit the black bean brownie out. Fail. My husband came home from work and saw the brownies waiting to surprise him. This man loves food, like I love food. He excitedly took a bite. I watched and waiting, knowing that he was bound to love them. His nostrils flared and I knew. Fail. The Black Bean Brownies were a bust. I dare to say that the recipe was not to blame. Perhaps my creative substitutions had a little to do with it. However, I built some character, and it only makes me want to try again. I'm sure that my family can't wait!
Have you built character lately? I bet so. I'd love to hear about...